Maturity is not a number you reach at the beginning of your 20th or 30th or 40th birthday month. It’s not a badge of honor you receive having culminated years of experience living on this planet. It’s not something that is bestowed upon you with a receding hairline or crinkled skin. You don’t turn into a mature person if you speak with a deeper voice or wear a serious expression or dress older than your age.
So many of us experience living the same life over and over and make the same mistakes again and again. We become stagnant. We stay stunted. We don’t grow into the people we are really meant to become. We allow life’s circumstances to shape us without taking the time to self-reflect and process.
True maturity is what do you with the experiences that you go through whether you are young or old, that’s what really matters.
A mature person has grit. They persist and do not give up at the slightest resistance or obstacle.
It is necessary to accept the uncomfortable feelings that arise with pushing oneself beyond one’s boundaries. You need persistence to push past the initial reluctance of the body when you first begin to exercise your muscles. It requires tremendous effort to stick with a relationship during a difficult time even though you want to run away. It takes energy and patience to work at your craft or career every single day so that you can excel at it. True maturity is embracing not just appealing feelings like comfort, happiness, and joy, but also the fear, anxiety, anger, and exhaustion. This comes from not only committing to doing something but also doing it well.
A mature person shifts their locus of control inside. They take responsibility for their actions and the resulting consequences. They don’t blame other people and own their shortcomings. They hold themselves accountable and understand that it is this very accountability that empowers them to take control of their own life. They are well aware of the pitfalls of excessive egotism and the resulting entitlement that comes from it.
A mature person understands the value of empathy. The value of truly looking out for another person besides themselves. They embrace points of view that are different from their own.
They are deeply aware of the unspoken needs and desires of other people. They listen more than they talk because they understand the immense value in learning from others. Everyone is equal regardless of their race, color, background, and should be treated as such. There are so many factors like luck, circumstances, and talent that brought you where you are today. This understanding brings about a humility that you are not better or more deserving than anyone else.
A mature person is not superficial. They are not into the fleeting things in life, the temporary satisfaction of putting someone else down to feel better about themselves, of the instant gratification from social media validation, of discarding relationship partners due to boredom, of excessive shopping to fill the existential emptiness, of judging people based on superficial things like physical attractiveness, social status, and financial status. Important things like integrity, courage, and self-respect begin to trump trivial things. As you mature, experiences with loved ones become more valuable than accumulating meaningless things. You begin to invest your time and energy wisely and work towards personal growth in all spheres of your life.
A mature person has a solid set of values that they stick with no matter what. Ask yourself if you define your life by pleasure-seeking behavior, self-centeredness, unhealthy habits, self-sabotage, and superficial accomplishments. Or do you define yourself by authenticity, adventure, bravery, a commitment to be kind and live your life with grace?
What are your values? What kind of person are you right now and who do you really want to be? Are you evolving for the better or changing for the worse or are you stuck in the same repetitive patterns because you haven’t taken the time to understand yourself?
You will never be completely mature just like you will never be perfect, but you can always grow. You can always choose to grow.